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Icebreaker

In 1994, an American girlfriend introduced Jeremy Moon to Brian Brackenridge, a merino sheep farmer she’d stayed with while hitchhiking around New Zealand.  Brian threw Jeremy a prototype thermal t-shirt made from 100% merino wool.  “It felt soft and sensual, looked lustrous and was totally natural,” says Jeremy. “It was nothing like the wool I had grown up with, which was heavy and scratchy. And you could throw this stuff in the washing machine.”

Jeremy, then a 24-year-old marketing graduate, wondered if he could sell enough of the prototype fabric to visit his girlfriend in the US.  But when he wore the t-shirt in the outdoors, he became so enthusiastic about merino’s potential that he never saw his girlfriend again – she was jilted for a sheep (actually, a whole flock of them).  Working from his bedroom, Jeremy wrote a business plan for Icebreaker with the crazily ambitious goal of developing the world’s first merino layering system for the outdoors.  Synthetics dominated outdoor clothing, and you could barely give merino away. “Don’t talk to me about wool. Wool is dead,” a buyer told Jeremy on his first Icebreaker sales call.

Today, Icebreaker are a global business and the world's premier merino wool manufacturer, but their ethical and environmental focus - including animal welfare - is second to none.

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